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Futures Past: Thirty Years of Arts Computing

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Anna Bentkowska-Kafel (Editor), Trish Cashen (Editor), Hazel Gardiner (Editor)

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBristol, UK and Portland, OR, USA
ISBN (Print)9781841501680

Publication series

NameComputers and the History of Art Series

King's Authors


Since its foundation in 1985 CHArt, Computers and the History of Art (, has closely followed the extraordinary developments in arts computing. Eleven papers presented in this volume reflect upon the unprecedented ways in which digital media have been transforming art practice, study and education. They argue for a more profound understanding of digital culture. The authors – researchers, teachers, custodians of art collections and picture libraries, and an artist – cover a wide range of issues. They look at the early development of computer art in the UK in the 1960s and 70s, and its far-reaching implications for contemporary art practice, exemplified by digital painting and the use of digital light systems for enhancement of the urban environment. With the benefit of hindsight it is now possible to look at futures past and assess the disparities between earlier visions of the future and reality. Frank accounts are given of projects which had promised great advances but failed to deliver, and others that have not only survived but continue to flourish. Another account demonstrates how an individual can make a difference to students’ learning by applying new technologies in a very pragmatic way. One of the most exciting advancements hinted at in these papers are the ways in which communities of interest are developing shared resources and cultivating a richer use of common vocabulary and standards to transmit an abundance of knowledge and experience. A look forward to the Semantic Web promises an even wider sharing of knowledge.

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